Writing is Hard | WIP Update | May 2021 | It’s Part of the Journey

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | April 2021 | Vienna

Doesn’t May make you sad sometimes? I don’t know… this could just be me rambling but May means summer is almost here, but not yet. And that’s the thing. Summer isn’t here yet so I’m sad. But also, the year moved by so fast and that means that summer (once it comes) will end again too. I don’t know about you but I love summer and I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for it to come back.

What my beautiful metaphor of an opening paragraph is alluding to is that with writing too I’ve been sad this month, and I’m a little worried about like… everything. My emotions have been up and down, riding all the waves of May. Self doubt is a killer. Everyone has those moments of what am I doing with my life? I had a few this month, and I’ve come to the realization that at the end of it, even if I don’t “make it” or whatever at least I tried my best. At least I listened to my heart. I’ve been writing when I can and planning when I can’t. But I keep going and that’s the point.

Probably because I’m stubborn as shit. And I feel this weird incessant calling to have to write. So. There we go.

In high school, I loved to write for fun. I would scribble poems in the margins of my notebook and I would write fanfiction on the back of handouts. I think in the back of my mind I was subconsciously aware that one day I would end up as a writer, but freshman/sophmore year of high school it was just a very distant dream. I would even go as far to say that the me at that time would say she didn’t want to be a writer. Maybe even at all. You see at that time in my life I wanted to do something with my life. Like, be a firefighter and rescue innocents from burning buildings or be a physical therapist and help injured athletes rehabilitate. I (wrongly) didn’t view writing and becoming a published author as doing something with my life at that time which is so vastly different to who I am now.

So I resisted.

Part of the reason I believe I felt this way was because I thought that if writing became my profession than that would suck all the fun out of my favorite thing. Writing when I was young was escapism, it kept me calm, it made the world seem like a beautiful dream of possibility. But the reality of my life was school, and if I haven’t already said it enough before I loathed school. LOATHED. Literally.

School was my job and my job wasn’t fun. I never wanted that to happen with writing. That was part of the reason and the other was my idealistic sense of purpose that I wanted to be a hero. I mean who doesn’t, at least at some point in their life?

But honestly, maybe I was just afraid.

If I am being honest, I still am.

The Lowell Saga (TLS), as you all know, is the working name for my current WIP. The more I work on it the more I see all its faults. 😦 But I also see all its potential. 😀 If I can figure it out, then I know I can make this a great story that will hopefully one day be published. Gosh that’s my dream guys. I’m trying here.

This month I got more writing in. Not a lot, but something so I can keep moving in the right direction. May was all ups and downs for me but June will be much more steady. Calm shores and not rocky waves. No one can predict the future but this is what I am trying to manifest lol.

This month I think I’ll talk a little bit about one of the main premises of TLS which is what essentially the entire plot revolves around. The treasure hunt. Their is no one great category to put my weird WIP in but if I had to I’d sayTLS is some weird mix of fantasy, magical realism, young adult/coming of age/new adult, adventure, mystery, noir, anime inspired beast of a story vibes. (That is such a weird combination, Jai, like WTF?) Yes I know that is what you are all probably thinking haha, BUT by the time I actually finish with the story though who knows what it will be? The beauty of drafting is that things can change at any time.

But not the treasure hunt aspect. No that is a main part of the story and always has been. There are seven lost artifacts that my main characters, essentially the main trio, will be revolving around for the entirety of the books. And I can tell you they encounter at least three of them in the first book. 😉

How are your stories going? I would love to hear so we can vibe together!

Till next time,

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word count: 75,752

Writing is Hard | WIP Update | January 2021 | Ruddy Red

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | November 2020 | NaNoWriMo Heaven and Hell

It has been a day. And, by a day, I mean that the last time I had a WIP update post was around November. So… it’s been a day that lasted two months. Lol. After taking some much needed time off in December though I am ready to jump back in.

So… where did I last leave off with my story? Ahhh yes. The ruddy red notebook.

In that notebook I created my first original character, that first character who… will play a very important role in The Lowell Saga, that first character who’s… secrets I can’t tell yet because their existence is such a game changer that I can’t even say more lest you be spoiled for this brilliant epic I am writing (lololololololol). Man that was a sentence, phew. For now though let’s call them Gale. I was sixteen.

I was also sixteen the two months later when I created my second original character. Oh, and boy was this one the exact opposite of Gale. Exact. Opposite. For now his name will be T. T also plays a major role in The Lowell Saga aka TLS for future reference so I can’t say much about him either. (Guys, guys I know I’m keeping this WIP tight under wraps but as soon as I can I promise to share more.) Needless to say this notebook was the unofficial start of TLS. Along with all of my at the time anime/video game obsessed fan fiction.

I was seventeen when I created Zelda. Her name has since been changed but for now that’s what we shall call her. She was going to originally star in TLS since she was so near and dear to my heart when she was first created, the beautiful bitter shadow of a girl that she is, but as of today is a key character in another completely different WIP simmering in the back of my mind. If you look back at my previous writing update I mentioned writing a story called Origins for NaNo 2019 and that’s her current place of residence and in hindsight that story fits her A LOT better than TLS. I’ll get to that story one day.

A symbol of a blue rose also appeared a lot as a motif in my writings in that notebook. If you notice on my blog and even in my little divider image below that symbol stuck. It became a motif I resonated with and decided to make my own along with my other favorite symbol, a key. Flowers have many meanings and the meanings even differ by what color they are. For my blog and who I want to be as a writer the blue rose fits. As does the key. *wink, wink*

I went on to create more and more characters in that notebook all of who I bet will end up in one of my stories some day. Being 25 and looking back on it now, I’m a little amazed. To think all those scribbles would one day define my life and who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do…

On the very last page of the notebook I wrote a sad ending because at last I had run out of paper. I was eighteen at the time, still in my first year of college, and a different person then than I am today. That girl was unsure, insecure and probably a little depressed. The girl writing this blog post now (*grinning*) has come a long, long way.

For now I’m still making headway on the first draft of TLS. I took some time off in December to recharge and now I’m spending January getting myself organized so that way in February I can start working on it every day again. See? I have a plan. Lol.

I’ll continue sharing my progress with this story as I go. It’s a way to hold myself accountable, connect with other writers and in the long run work on improving my process for the future.

For all you out there with a story burning in your soul, never let that fire die. We are in this together and our stories have voices that the world needs to hear.

Stay strong and continue on.

Never stop writing.

Till next time,

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Vignette #30 “The Racetrack”

Before I can help it my fingers are flying across the keys, and I’m helpless to stop it. The thoughts are racing by, each one trying to overcome the others. Many succeed in flying straight ahead to the finish line, but some are left far enough behind to get trampled and lost in the mess on the track of my mind. My fingers are helpless in the competition. They just keep tapping and pressing and moving to the instructions they’re given, like announcers trying to keep the rest of the audience informed. The racing thoughts that get lost come out in bits of shattered fragments on the rapidly filling once blank page. A random horseshoe in the middle of a sentence that otherwise would have made perfect sense. A lost stirrup, ripped from the saddle lying by itself at the end of a paragraph, or a scrap of paper with the headline ripped from the top to be hidden somewhere else in the dirt of the track.

It takes a moment, after the burst, before I realize the race has ended. The winners are clear on the page. I need a deep breath because it’s over, and even though I haven’t even left my seat I am exhausted. I’m not part of the competition anymore, I’m a bystander, a visitor looking on from the stands. As I go through the sentences it is just like watching a recap on a screen. By the time I reach the last word, my mind and fingers in tandem have had to edit and cut. Getting rid of the things that don’t make sense, disregarding the racers that came in last, and painting the victorious in the appropriate light for the prize winning picture.

But this is just the derby, wait till the stakes get higher.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

©2021 Jai Lynn

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“Fairytale”

Once upon a time…
is how I shall begin.
A castle wrought in ivory
and knights dressed in tin.

A jovial king
made of poultry
and sweet pie.
A dour queen
subdued to never question
how or why?

Money and power
the kingdom
had renowned.
With two princes to boot
hunting in the woods
to be found.

The older
of the two
was strong and fit
but the younger
was smarter and
drowning in wit.

One day the older got an idea
to take his little brother
out to hunt deer
only his motives
in the situation
were very unclear.

As usual they rode together
on black horses
of noble breed
until the older deserted
the younger, losing him
in the woods was the deed.

The younger called out
and realized too late
that he was alone,
left to die
with his whereabouts
unknown.

Days passed
into weeks
and the king and queen
mourned their loss
of the little prince
gone and unseen.

The prince
was never to return
do you see?
For in those
very woods
he built his own country.

He used his head
to find shelter
and food,
he made friends
with the foxes
wild and shrewd.

He survived
and grew older
in a castle of trees.
A kingdom of nature
that stretched all
the way to the seas.

Did you think this was
a story of revenge
and deceit?
Sometimes the best comeback
is living well
and not falling to defeat.

The younger prince knew
what his brother
had done,
so he did one better
and lived a happy life
under the sun.

Living well
is retribution
kept hush
because swords are flashier,
as is dying
in the dust.

But don’t think
the older prince
still got to be.
His kingdom fell to ruin
while the younger’s
is still free.

As this is a fairytale
and I the crafter
all that’s left to say is
that prince lived happily ever after.

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©2021 Jai Lynn

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Living Life #23 “Smile”

I have only seen her frown once.

Granted, I have never seen her outside of work but when you work as many hours as I do with the same people day after day… you tend to notice things.

In the early morning, when the sky is still painted night and the air chilled with dew, whoever she greets on her way in she’ll flash a smile. It doesn’t matter if her eyelids are still a little droopy with sleep, or her sweet voice a little heavier as if coated in honey. No matter what, you’ll still see that smile.

At our weekly meeting we learn about new procedures, rules, or programs we need to know how to run. If she doesn’t understand she’ll raise her hand and ask her questions, always with a coy quirk in her lip. As if in apology for speaking, when in reality she is voicing the question in all our minds.

Casual meetings in the hallway with everyone’s coming and goings, when if you’re lucky enough to meet her eyes, there that grin will be. It doesn’t matter that she already flashed it at you an hour ago when you walked in together.

Disgruntled customers are frequent and normal. I once watched a man spit at her, saliva getting stuck to her blouse and she didn’t even balk. That smile came to her defense and it calmed him, and the rest of us, down from coming to her aid.

When Tracy accidentally dropped a cup of coffee and it splashed onto her shirt.

When her computer broke and she had to stay late to finish her assignment.

When it started to pour just as she was about to leave the other day.

Everywhere she goes, she smiles. I don’t understand. Or at least I didn’t, until the day I saw that frown.

I was coming around the corner when I spotted her at the window. It was the only time I ever saw her eyes look so far away. Her arms were crossed tightly across her chest, and her hands were clenched around her elbows. I realized in that moment that she thought she was alone. I would have left it that way too… if not for the frown marring her face.

For someone who had always seemed so happy, and brought joy to everyone else… I wondered at the depth of sadness she must have kept bottled up inside. There was a lifetime of disappointment and worry in that upside down turn of her mouth.

I didn’t mean to stare… but that’s how she caught me. Her expression careened from sadness to surprise to a calm expression with her lips set into a straight line. I didn’t even know what to say, I was caught just as off guard as she was.

Are you okay? came to the tip of my tongue but my words weren’t working. She inclined her head at me then and passed by. That was the only time she didn’t smile, at least to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if she is as aware as I am of the powerful effect a smile, or lack there one, can have… because after I didn’t see one the rest of my day was wrecked.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

Living Life #22 “Mirror”

The shards were scattered all over the floor.

Each edge was jagged, and unlike any of the others. Of course they would all be different. They all came from different experiences.

The shard closest was derived from the boy who pushed her into the sandbox when she was five, just because she had been born a girl and for no other reason more.

The one to the right was one of the bigger ones. It was from when she was seven and her father had left. She thought it had been her fault. It was not her fault.

All the way to the left was a tiny chip, nearly in the shape of a heart. Nearly. It was from the eighth grade when the boy she liked had tried to set her up with his best friend.

Then all the way in the back, that piece with the most uneven sides… the piece with the sharpest angles…. that was the one from her first job out of school when her boss had tried to sand her down. That boss hadn’t liked the bumps on her skin, the angle of her eyes, or the color of her hair. That boss had balked at the smile she wore to work every day no matter how many backhanded compliments and disguised insults were said to her face. That was the girl’s favorite piece. That was the piece that cut deepest from her skin and made her never look back or question who she was ever again.

All of these shards on the floor were an important piece of her soul. So the image left standing in the mirror, after it was fixed once again, was a smarter and stronger girl.

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Living Life #19 “Eggnog”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

She could see the bottom of the glass once again. Twirling it in her hand, the bare remnants of froth shifted from one side to the other. It looked like the melted snow outside, when in reality it was the dregs of a third glass of eggnog.

“Poor me.” she laughed. Unsteady and a little sick, the woman rose from the armchair by the dying fire. Its crackling was almost silent since it was now midnight. First a chair and then the table got in her path but through determination and reckless luck she made her way back to the counter where the punch bowl was waiting.

One ladle, two ladles, and another half. Now her glass was full once again.

Even though she was not.

“Merry Christmas to me.” she breathed, and downed the fourth glass. Maybe this time it would fill her up.

Living Life # 18 “Decorating The Tree”

( a collection of independent vignettes)

The tree was taller than she was. Green as the forest in summer beyond her backyard and as prickly as the thorns on the dead bouquet in the vase on the counter. Tooth and nail it dragged through the back door leaving a trail of needles like gingerbread cookie crumbs right to the far corner of the living room. It did not come easy, but she didn’t back down. Not even as she had to hoist it into the stand with only minimal help from the wall.

A stepladder was necessary for the lights, and even though there was no one there to help she took her time. The stool danced around the wood floor and the lights were placed string by string until it was her feet waltzing around the ground instead. The cord was gently plugged in and then the house seemed a little brighter, the fir now lit up like a star. The tree warmed up to her a bit then. But only just a bit.

The red beads were next, and then the gold tinsel. The tree certainly wasn’t going to bend for her but she didn’t need it too. She rose to meet it again and again, and swayed around and around. The fire in the background crackled and snarled but it was only empty threats. The light emanating from the small space was too golden and too warming to be anything but a sarcastic friend. Being inside, the tree realized, was a lot different than being outside. A little more snug and a little less lonely.

It paid no mind to the silver bells she planted along its branches, and the red ornaments felt as light as air as if they were barely there. The rest that were piled on were mismatched and worn. A little blue sled with the year 1982 scribbled on the bottom, a fading snowman with two buttons missing, eight bronze deer then four gold ones and a rocking horse no bigger than her palm. Before long all the spaces were filled and instead of feeling weighted and tired the tree noticed the perk to its branches in the mirror across the room. Maybe it should have been a little nicer to her on the way in. She had plucked it out of the solitude of the harsh winter wind, gifted it a steady stream of water and shelter, then given it decorations to cloth and adorn it. The tree liked her a bit more than it had before, making its emotions swell now to twice what they had been.

A drop of sweat like a melted snowflake slid down her temple, and the tree could see she was tired. She absently moved to put her hand down on the end table nearby and the tree wanted to warn her but it had no mouth to speak.

When the glass shattered, it was loud. The wit of the fire was drowned, and the glow of white lights on the tree’s branches left her eyes. Quietly, the young woman bent down and as she kneeled careful of the broken bits, she looked much smaller than she had when she originally hauled the tree in. More like a girl, left alone in a house, with a few modest lights and threadbare ornaments that really didn’t matter much if one thought about it, unless they were reflected in her eyes.

The picture was face up on the floor, but in the shadow of where the lights couldn’t reach. Piece by piece and sliver by sliver she picked the edges up, cupping her hand to her chest. The picture, still in the frame, was last. Another tiny snowflake ran down her cheek, but the tree knew there were was no sky above their heads. She took a deep breath and in the next moment she rose and walked away. A minute passed, and then two. The tree wondered if maybe it should have at least tried to warn her, though it had no means to speak words. But then, she came back. And she wasn’t alone.

There was petite angel cupped in her hands where the glass had just been.

The stool made its return, and with the fire cackling quietly in the background, she rose one step then another. Even then though she could barely reach the top. An inch more of height and everything would have been okay. She didn’t have that inch though, so the tree gave her the inch instead.

With all its might it buckled its trunk and the young woman stretched her toes until finally then the angel was set on top. Blonde hair, white gown, a happy mouth and golden wings graced the room.

The young woman stepped down from the stool, and that’s when tree liked her most of all with the lights in her eyes, the fir needles in her hair and the angel in her smile.

Living Life # 16 “Spelled.”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Cassie spread the the pages of the tome out before her. It was easier to read the handwritten scribbles and see the crawling illustrations this way. They scattered across the page and in the dusk light, almost seemed to be moving with a word jumping a few lines here or the picture of the lemon going fuzzy and then rapidly going into focus again. After she lit the three candles, it got better. The dust was a different issue.

The book had not been touched in over twenty five years, Cassie was sure. It had been her grandmother’s a long time ago. She had passed it onto Cassie’s mother and then she had passed it to the attic where it sat long and lonely for a quarter of a century. At least till it had found its way onto the kitchen table right now. Every time Cassie flipped a page, a cloud went up, a cough rattled her throat and the dust clung to wood of the table in tiny finger prints.

So she began by lighting the sage. A small bowl, the bundle of herbs and a match that burst and then died. Then that was complete. It filled the room with a rush of scent, earthy and natural, taking over the air and it wasn’t long before the dust was forgotten.

Looking at the tome was like reading a manual for building a chair or a recipe for pumpkin cookies. All that needed to be done, now that she could see and breathe, was follow the steps.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

The pot of boiling water on the stove was starting to salivate, the water sputtering out in rabid little pops. Lifting the lid she tossed in a sprig of rosemary, then another. The water simmered down, satisfied for the moment. At least until Cassie threw in the frankincense and myrrh. Together the words ordered, so as to help the reach of her little cooking stint. A dash of salt for safety, a bunch of roses for attraction, and then the clove to keep the whole thing tightlipped from the world. Or at least her mother.

Rubbing her hands together Cassie stirred the contents and a gray smoke cloaked the room mingling with the sage burning on the counter.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Now only a few bits left to add, then the incantation.

Bubble bubble
toil and trouble

dusky air,
lock of hair

leaves of rose,
two blue bows

a ghost’s kiss,
a snake’s hiss
the pretty things
you shouldn’t miss.

On this eve
meet my need.


Help to find
a steady mind

to guide me through
this witch’s brew

To see the past
understand at last
the hidden truth
my question asked

and granted answer
to become advancer

and much more clear
in the way of seer
. “

The candles went out like a sigh. All was quiet. Even the night outside was still… all except for her heart which stuttered for a beat, then two. What did she do? Had it worked?

Cassie didn’t feel any wiser. Or, any less confused. Maybe her suspicion had been wrong and Grandmother hadn’t been a witch at all…

A purple spark jumped from her fingers lighting the room in a flash, then another. Cassie held up her hands and stared. Again, her hands sparked, brighter this time, because she was aware. It danced like a little beam of static across her palms, and then back.

“Cassie…” called her mother from upstairs. “how you doing Sweetie?”

“Magical Mom.” she smirked. “Just magical.”

A pause, then “Are you being sarcastic?”

Cassie shook her head and called out, “No!” Then quietly to herself, “Not this time.” She clenched her fists but the purple flickers remained.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

“Ghost Story”

I saw two boys standing,
in the picture,
on the broken stair.
One with a frown,
and the other,
without a care.

The black haired one,
looking very serious
and quite proud,
held a book in his hand
his shoulders pitched forward
as if he had just bowed.

The lad with the smirk
and penny copper hair
all tousled about his face,
had his eyes far off
and looking away
as he stared into space.

It was taken
twenty three years ago
my mother told me.
When the world
was summer and
she and they played near the sea.


On Roan Island
where they lived,
there was a tale.
You see, the entrance
must be given one soul
to go beyond the veil.

My mother said
the boy made of copper,
brash and not coy,
had a timeless laugh
always heard at the wrong time
that sounded with no joy.

The dark haired one,
was forged of iron
and shadow smart.
His cracks were always witty
but they didn’t come
from his heart.

There was a game
they played
those nights by the sea.
“Something more
must be waiting
for our trio of three.”

One long summer,
when the ocean was storming
and the moon was bright,
one of them
disappeared
into the night.

He vanished,
like a light
in the dark.
The light of soul,
gone,
out like a spark.

“Never saw him again.”
My mother sighed,
her words slow.
“Other things I see now
ever since that night.”
and her voice was so low.

“What? What are you seeing
that I can’t?”
I asked shrewdly.
The picture crinkled
in my hand
the boys wrinkling crudely.

My mother stared straight
her eyes startled and wide
and looking right through me.
“I watch the dead now, sweetie,
for years they’ve come and go
creaking floors and spilling tea

they’ll never leave me alone.
By the sea we played
that stupid game.
Never the one soul
I wanted to see
but do I call his name. “

“Who?” I asked.
“Is it that you want to meet?”
She took the photo in hand
and looked down forlornly.
There was salt in her eyes,
and in her hair fell sand.

“One day the game
would catch up
I always knew.
The time to collect
the sin I owe,
proud and true.”

She pointed down
and I stared, then she said
only to me.
“Until now I never saw him
but now in this room
there are three.”